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Communities Isolated by Heavy Rains Fear Attacks in Cabo Delgado

Communities Isolated by Heavy Rains Fear Attacks in Cabo Delgado

People isolated by rising river flows in some districts of Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique fear new rebel attacks in the face of a new wave of armed violence in recent weeks.

“There’s no movement of vehicles because the Messalo River is full. I don’t know if this will be a problem for us, because the terrorists can take advantage of this to torment us, because they know that help can arrive, but it will take a long time,” a resident of the town of Miangalewa, in the district of Muidumbe, one of the worst affected at the start of the insurgency in that province in 2017, told Lusa today.

Several villages in Cabo Delgado are almost inaccessible, with impassable roads, due to heavy rains and rising river flows in recent weeks, the authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

According to information from the provincial office of Mozambique’s National Roads Administration (ANE), there are at least three sections of road affected by the heavy rains in Cabo Delgado, namely the Macomia-Oasse section of the N380 road, the Meculi-Mazeze section of the R760 road and the Metuge-Mahate-Quissanga section of the R762 road.

The situation is limiting access to villages in the interior of Cabo Delgado, which are served by some main roads.

“We’re in a difficult situation, we can’t get through Mahate [in Quissanga] to [the district of] Metuge and vice versa, we only depend on the road that protrudes from the village of 19 de Outubro, on the main road, and this makes us afraid, because the bandits can use this as a reason to torment us,” said a resident of the Quissanga district.

In some areas, the communities have only one access road, whose circulation of some vehicles is conditioned by the rains, a situation that worries the residents.

“It’s complicated to use just one road. If the terrorists close it, what will happen to us? The rebels are travelling here,” said another Quissanga resident.

After several months of a relative return to normality in the districts affected by armed violence, Cabo Delgado province has seen new movements and attacks by rebel groups for a few weeks now, causing new waves of displaced people, especially since Monday, when residents of Mazeze, Chiúre-Velho, Mahipa, Alaca, Nacoja B and Nacussa abandoned their villages and travelled more than 20 kilometres along the National Road (EN1) to cross the Lúrio River, on the border with Nampula province, in search of refuge in the district of Eráti (Namapa).

On Thursday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said that the new rebel incursions were the result of attempts by armed groups to recruit new members, considering that last month the province saw “a lot of movement of terrorists”.

Mozambique’s Prime Minister, Adriano Maleiane, also admitted on Thursday the need for additional support for Cabo Delgado in view of the flight of dozens of people due to the new attacks in that province, a situation that is creating “food problems”.

A week ago, the extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Macomia, Cabo Delgado, which killed at least 20 people, one of the most violent in several months.

The province has been facing attacks claimed by ISIS for six years, which has led to a military response since July 2021, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), liberating districts near gas projects.

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